Another Morning Jolt: McKenna Loses This One

By Afternoon Jolt September 1, 2011

Today's loser: State attorney general Rob McKenna.

Hot on the heels of his big win in the federal health care lawsuit (the Washington State supreme court dismissed Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes' case against the attorney general, ruling that the McKenna had the right to join the multistate lawsuit against the federal health care law), McKenna lost a separate case today against state lands commissioner Peter Goldmark.

In that case, Goldmark v. McKenna, the supreme court ruled that McKenna has to represent Goldmark in a lawsuit against the Okanogan Public Utility District. The PUD took over state trust lands to build a new transmission line. After suing to stop the PUD from building the line and losing, Goldmark asked McKenna to appeal it, and McKenna said no, arguing that the PUD had the right to use eminent domain.

Today's ruling effectively forces McKenna to represent Goldmark's position in court.

Liberals are applauding the ruling and clearly see it as a way to frame McKenna as an anti-environmentalist on top being an irresponsible AG.

The progressive advocacy group Fuse, issued the following reaction this morning:

“The Supreme Court sent Rob McKenna a very blunt message that he needs to stop playing politics and do his job,” said Aaron Ostrom, Executive Director of Fuse Washington. “His job is to represent the people and the state of Washington, and he completely abandoned his responsibilities.”

Washington State Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark was seeking to appeal a court decision that would allow the Okanogan Public Utility District to use environmentally valuable trust land, overseen by the DNR, in order to build power transmission lines.  Attorney General McKenna rejected Goldmark’s request to provide legal representation in the appeal. Prevented by law from hiring outside counsel but determined to do his job protecting Washington’s natural resources, Goldmark was forced to sue McKenna in order to get McKenna to do his job as Attorney General.

Today's winner: State Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45).

Goodman, who is seeking the Congressional seat that's being vacated by Jay Inslee (D-WA, 1), who's running for governor, has been racking up the endorsements (in contrast, one of his two major opponents, Marko Liias, has not announced any major endorsements yet), and today he added another one: State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36), who said in a statement, "Roger is not afraid to take a courageous stand if it is based on common sense and will improve the quality of life for regular citizens. Roger Goodman is not bought and paid for by the monied interests."

Dickerson and Goodman have both been strong advocates in the legislature for marijuana law reform, and Goodman has already introduced legislation for next year that would have given cities and counties the ability to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries.
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